Polish Avant-garde films in the Anthology Film Archives



The program of Polish experimental cinema from the 1930s to the 1990s will take place in the Anthology Film Archives, New York on February 18. Many works will be presented in original 35mm format. The screening is programmed by Andrzej Jachimczyk, based on his MFJ (Millennium Film Journal) 62 review of “A Struggle for Form,” a new book on Polish avant-garde cinema. The event is presented in collaboration with the Polish Cultural Institute.

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Avant-garde film from Poland has an almost mythological reputation, largely due to the activities of filmmakers associated with the Łódź Film Form Workshop, which peaked in the 1970s. However, a recent book entitled THE STRUGGLE FOR FORM argues that a distinctive strain of moving image experimentation by Polish artists began as early as 1916 and continued at least until 1989 when their works began to merge into a globalized ‘art world.’

In concert with his review of THE STRUGGLE FOR FORM, published in the most recent issue of the Millennium Film Journal (MFJ 62), Andrzej Jachimczyk has curated this special one-program survey of Polish avant-garde cinema, beginning with a 1937 film by the Themersons and a formal experiment by Andrzej Pawłowski, followed by an example of the Moral Angst Cinema by Wojciech Wiszniewski and two films made under the auspices of the Film Form Workshop. The third part of the program contains an existential contemplation by Andrzej Klimowski and a social critique by Hieronim Neumann, and ends with a 1997 documentary by the film visionary Kazimierz Karabasz. Though Polish avant-garde cinema is often considered to embrace a rigidly formalist position, this program suggests that changes in political climate have as significant an influence as aesthetic prerogatives on the methods and ideas of moving image artists. Though none of the works can be definitively categorized, the program includes fictional, animation, and documentary approaches to film.

This is a very special event. Courtesy of the Polish Cultural Institute, five 35mm prints have been shipped from the National Film Archive in Warsaw specifically for the program The prints will be returned to Poland immediately after the screening.

Presented in collaboration with the Polish Cultural Institute New York. Thanks to Agata Grenda (Polish Cultural Institute New York), Andrzej Jachimczyk, and Grahame Weinbren, as well as to the National Audiovisual Institute, the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, the National Film Archive in Poland, and Michał Oleszczyk, Artistic Director of the Gdynia Film Festival.


The Adventure of a Good Citizen (1937) – Franciszka and Stefan Themerson
Kineforms (1957) – Andrzej Pawlowski
Test (1971) – Józef Robakowski
New Book (1975) – Zbigniew Rybczyński
The Carpenter (1976) – Wojciech Wiszniewski
Dead Shadow (1980) – Andrzej Klimowski
Block (1982) – Hieronim Neumann
Portrait in a Drop of Water (1997) – Kazmierz Karabasz

Date: 18 February 2016, 7.30 pm.
Location: Anthology Film Archives, New York, USA



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